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5 Retailing Tricks from Consumer Behavior Studies

Do you own a boutique, a retail shop, or a grocery store? Read on and learn about five important consumer behavior studies that tell you how best to influence a customer to make a purchase.

  1. Use the disrupt-and-reframe technique to make an informal sales pitch.

From the landmark study published in the Journal of Consumer Research comes a subtle form of verbal trickery that makes for a great sales pitch. The study involved a candy bar. And the best way to sell it was this: start off with a confusing sales pitch with lots of confusing technical details, then once the customer asks for clarification, explain the pitch succinctly in layman’s terms. The sales were found to take off.

The research findings reinforced how people like the idea of closure. And the confusion produced by a convoluted sales pitch led to the heightened need for closure.

  1. Understand how your store’s flooring affects buying decisions.

In a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, researchers revealed how the flooring of a retail environment affects how consumers judge products. The shorter the distance from the product to the consumer, the more intense the effect of bodily sensations brought forth by the flooring material.

When a consumer standing on plush carpeting evaluates a product, the flooring is unconsciously used as a “comparison standard” and the product being examined is perceived as “less comforting” or possibly not a good buy. Products seen from a distance, on the other hand, are perceived as “comforting.”

Another interesting finding is uncovered by the same study. When consumers stand on hard tile flooring, the product (a gift basket) is seen as more comforting from a moderate distance.

  1. Understand how your store’s ceiling height influence your customer’s thinking.

You might want to carefully consider the type of products you sell with respect to the ceiling height of your store. It may seem strange to infer a connection from these two unrelated aspects. But like the effect of flooring on a customer’s state of mind and consequently the buying process, the height of the ceiling is also found to influence your customer’s thinking.

A customer in a retail environment bounded by a ten-foot ceiling has a tendency to decide more freely and resort to an abstracted way of thinking. This is a perfect setup for novelty products with new features. When confined in a retail space with an eight-foot ceiling, a customer will then focus on the specifics of a product.

You might want to factor this telling design aspect if you are in the position to dictate the ceiling height of your store.

  1. Goad a customer to buy a novelty using moderate background noise.

When selling a novel or innovative product, you might want to introduce ambient noise to encourage a customer to make a purchase.

According to the paper published in the Journal of Consumer Research, a moderate level of background noise can serve as distraction, which in turn encourages abstract and creative thinking. The study uncovered that, in the presence of optimal ambient noise, consumers are more likely to choose a product with new features than a conventional one.

  1. Control holiday shopping chaos because it can deter sales.

Are you planning to host a holiday sale on your store? Think about how accidental touching during crowding is found to negatively impact costumers and potentially turn them off from making a purchase.

According to a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, both men and women respond to even an innocuous rubbing of the elbow by forming a negative view of the product they were evaluating when they were touched. They also quickly left the store.

The findings of this study might dissuade you from making your aisles narrow and your products crammed together to maximize store space.